Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas, who have lived here most of their lives, decided to ask Congressman Steve King a pretty thoughtful question. He didn't handle it too well. At 58 seconds in, he gets pretty condescending, physically grabs her hand, shows them little respect, and refuses to listen. It goes downhill from there, despite Erika and Cesar's calm discussion of the issues.
The card Erika is referring to is her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) card. It's a card for folks who arrived here before their 16th birthday, before 2007, who graduated from high school or served in the military and haven't committed any crimes. Essentially they are kids who grew up here, want to contribute to society, want a legal path to citizenship or green card status, and want to know where they stand in the American immigration system.
Rep. Steven King (R-Iowa) has a history of saying pretty xenophobic things, like most undocumented immigrants are drug runners. He tends to be uncompromising in his opinion that if you were brought here as a child, you are a lawbreaker who has no intention of following any laws. And anytime anyone calls him on this and explains that if you grew up here not knowing about your status, you should at least have an opportunity to prove your value, he reverts to ignoring everything you say because your parents dared to try to give you a better life.
Imagine if America was the only country you ever knew. As a small child, you make friends, go to school, grow up, go to college, and make a life for yourself. Now imagine there was a guy telling you that everyone like you was a drug smuggling criminal. And he was elected to a federal office. And he was trying to send you to a country you have never lived in. How would you feel?
Erika just wants to contribute to our country. She wants to do the right thing. And most people are too afraid to talk about it because people like Congressman King like to scare the hell out of everyone into thinking that the American dream should be off limits to people from specific places. Which is silly. We are a nation of immigrants, and right now, there's no path for people like Erika to take to gain her citizenship. But if people like you and me keep talking about it, maybe we can finally get to a place where we have a sane path to citizenship that's actually realistic and doable.